Perhaps it was because of the approaching holiday or a sense of accomplishment with last month’s passage of a bond issue, but the Wayland Board of Education meeting was a virtual love fest Monday night.
One one-night Era of Good Feeling pervaded the scene. from the evaluation and contract extension of Superintendent Norm Taylor, to the recognition of the hugely successful Wildcat girls’ athletic teams, to a special marketing film about the school district, to the celebration of Steeby Elementary earning national recognition, to continuing positive news about the district’s finances and growth.
Taylor, who has been school chief here for more than sevenyears, earned a rating of “effective,” with a score of 89 from the seven board members. That was just one point below the “highly effective” designation. Taylor, who has a salary of slightly above $130,000 annually, won’t see a raise, however, until next spring. Regardless, his contract has been extended by one year to the end of June 2020.
Pat Velie talked about the schools’ growth and resultant increase in revenue for the budget, but cautioned a good chunk of the windfall was the result of one-time events, such as grants and state aid increase because 47 students were added to enrollment this year.
Taylor told the board that while growth is a positive development, it’s stressing the availability of space.
“We’re out of room already,” he said. “We’ll need additional classroom space by 2019.”
Help is on the way from the bond projects, however, with the building of a sixth-grade wing addition to the middle school and making Pine Street Elementary renovations to accommodate all fourth- and fifth-graders.
Velie noted an increase this year of $1.294 million in revenue, $1.054 million expenses and a boost of $239,000 in the fund balance. There was a decrease of $547,000 in salaries, mostly because of retirements. And the fund balance is getting ever closer to the board’s goal of 12 percent.
Some prudent purchasing of $77,000 worth of LED lighting also will help, as Velie pointed out they “pay for themselves in a year and a half.”
She cautioned again that the much of the positive news was the result of one-time events that many not hold true in the future.
But Taylor, perhaps summarizing the euphoria of the board meeting, declared, “I think 2017 has been a very fine year for us, and we’re looking forward to an exciting time in 2018.”
Board President Gary Wood echoed, “Other than commencement, this has been one of our more enjoyable meetings.”
Among other highlights at the meeting, the school board:
• Recognized the girls’ cross-country, girls’ golf, volleyball and girls’ swim teams for outstanding seasons.
• Approved the sale of bonds through underwriter Fifth Third Securities.
• Observed the presentation of a gift certificate to Barnes & Nobles Bookstores to Pine Street student Olivia Stein, who was chosen as the winner of the annual Christmas card design contest.
• Was serenaded by Ricci Sabin’s select choir for two Christmas music selections, including the old Elvis Presley favorite, “Blue Christmas.”
COVER PHOTO: Superintendent Norm Taylor shows the winning holiday card artwork turned in by Pine Street student Olivia Stein.